Chicken thighs seem to be the underdog compared to chicken breasts. They are more affordable and won’t dry out as easily as chicken breast. Furthermore, they cook much faster than other parts of the bird.
Chicken thighs are the perfect candidate for smoking. Smoke your chicken thighs for 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Can You Cook Chicken Thighs At 200
- What To Look For When Buying Chicken Thighs
- How To Brine Chicken Thighs
- Should I Remove Chicken Skin Before Smoking?
- Should You Wrap Chicken Thighs In Foil When Smoking?
- Should I Flip Chicken Thighs When Smoking
- How Long To Smoke Chicken Thighs At 200
- How Long To Smoke Boneless Chicken Thighs At 200
- Final Thoughts
Can You Cook Chicken Thighs At 200
Cooking chicken thighs at 200 is a controversial topic in the BBQ world.
Most experts recommend smoking chicken thighs at temperatures between 225°F and 250°F. They believe that 225 is too low for smoking chicken thighs.
Chicken thighs must be cooked to a specific temperature before they are consumed. If not, undercooked chicken thighs can lead to foodborne illness.
If the chicken thighs stay in the danger zone too long, you can still get sick even if you cook the chicken thighs. Food cannot stay in the danger zone for more than 4 hours. After 4 hours, the food becomes tainted with so many bacteria that it is unsafe to eat.
Some people believe that smoking chicken thighs at 200°F will expose the meat to the danger zone for too long. However, the chicken thighs will cook in less than 4 hours, so they will be perfectly safe to eat.
What To Look For When Buying Chicken Thighs
Always be selective when it comes to purchasing meat. Chicken thighs are relatively inexpensive, but that does not mean you should settle for low-quality meat.
Chicken thighs contain a healthy ratio of dark meat and fat. The fat should not be yellow, and the meat should not have a grayish color.
Additionally, the chicken thighs should have a slightly metallic odor. However, it should not have a pungent odor.
Choose chicken thighs that are relatively the same size. Generally, chicken thighs that are the same size finish cooking around the same time.
In contrast, chicken thighs that are not the same size have different cooking times. If you smoke a mixture of small and large chicken thighs, the smaller cuts will cook first. You will constantly have to check the internal temperature of each chicken thigh until they are cooked.
Can I Smoke Boneless Chicken Thighs?
Technically, you can smoke boneless chicken thighs. They will cook much faster than bone-in chicken thighs.
However, I do not recommend smoking boneless chicken thighs. It’s much easier to overcook boneless chicken thighs than bone-in chicken thighs. The bone will act as a regulator and keep the surrounding meat extremely moist.
How To Brine Chicken Thighs
Although brining is optional, I highly recommend you brine the chicken thighs before smoking them. Brining will help keep the chicken thighs moist and juicy.
Remember smoking the chicken thighs exposes them to heat for an extended period of time. This can dry out the chicken thighs. Brining the chicken thighs helps them retain as much moisture as possible.
Brining chicken thighs is very easy. Simply add 4-6 cups of water to a large container, depending on how many chicken thighs you are smoking. Add ½-1 cup of salt to the water and stir until it dissolves. You can also add ¼ cup of sugar or other spices to the brine to give the chicken thighs even more flavor.
Add the chicken thighs to the water. Make sure they are submerged in the water. If they float to the top of the water, place a large plate on top of them to keep them submerged.
Place the chicken thighs in the fridge and let them brine for 1 hour.
Drain the chicken thighs and rinse them with cold water to remove the slaty flavor from the brine. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and proceed to the next step.
Should I Remove Chicken Skin Before Smoking?
Whether you should remove chicken skin depends on your preference. Some people suggest removing the chicken skinbecause it will not get crispy as it smokes.
While I can admit that smoked chicken skin is rubbery and disgusting, there are still other options.
If you smoked the chicken thighs on a grill, transfer it to the hot side of the grill and cook them for to 2-3minutes per side. The chicken skin will be crispy, and it will have a slight char that is extremely delicious.
You can also sear the chicken thighs in a hot skillet with a little oil. This will give you the crispest skin.
Alternatively, you can also broil the smoked chicken thighs for a few minutes. However, watch the chicken closely once you put it in the oven, as it can burn quickly.
Should You Wrap Chicken Thighs In Foil When Smoking?
You do not need to wrap chicken thighs in foil before you smoke them. Wrapping is a common practice for brisket. However, it is not necessary for chicken thighs.
Wrapping the chicken thighs will do more harm than good. The point of smoking chicken thighs is to expose them to smoke so they can absorb the smoky flavor.
The foil will prevent the meat from absorbing the smoky flavor. So do not wrap the chicken thighs with foil if you want them to have a delicious smoky flavor.
Should I Flip Chicken Thighs When Smoking
Flipping chicken thighs is not necessary. However, you can flip them if you want to.
If you plan to flip the chicken thighs, make sure you place the chicken thighs in the smoker skin side up. Then flip them about halfway through the cooking process.
Do not flip the chicken thighs too often. Every time you open the smoker, the ambient temperature decrease. It can take up to 15 minutes for the smoker to return to 200°F. If you open the smoker frequently, it takes the chicken thighs longer to smoke.
How Long To Smoke Chicken Thighs At 200
How long to smoke chicken thighs depends on the size of the chicken thighs and how much meat you are smoking.
Smaller chicken thighs will take longer to cook than bigger chicken thighs. Five pounds of chicken thighs will take longer to cook than a pound of chicken thighs.
Generally, it takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes to cook chicken thighs at 200°F.
It’s best to pay attention to the internal temperature of the chicken thighs instead of the cooking time. Chicken thighs are fully cooked when they have a temperature of 165°F.
How Long To Smoke Boneless Chicken Thighs At 200
Boneless chicken thighs cook much faster than bone-in chicken thighs. It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours to cook boneless chicken thighs at 200°F.
However, check the chicken thighs internal temperature after 1 hour. This will prevent the chicken thighs from overcooking. It will also allow you to adjust the cooking time if necessary.
Smoking chicken thighs is so easy. Best of all, they are inexpensive and take a relatively short time to cook. So, the next time you are craving chicken, pull out your smoker and smoke some delicious chicken thighs.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.